By on September 29, 2016

Miami Traffic Map, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Dear Florida,

We need to talk. You’re a good state. Really, you are. I love your beaches. There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere. Daytona is the place where motorsports royalty is crowned in America. Sebring is the place of legends. And who doesn’t love Disney World?

But we need to talk about your car situation. It’s just flat-out embarrassing. All of your friends are talking about it. I think it’s time we had a an open, honest conversation, and maybe we can solve this problem together.

First things first: let’s talk about your traffic issues. Why does Miami have horrific traffic at all times of day, no matter where you’re going, and no matter what route you’re taking? The highway system is a giant spaghetti bowl of confusing, winding roads that overlap a dozen times. Not only that, I get charged a gazillion dollars for the right to just sit in traffic, thanks to the photo tolls every 20 feet. Orlando isn’t any better, and it’s compounded by the millions of rental-car-driving hordes headed to see the Mouse. Can’t you do something about this?

And what’s with your need to over-personalize everything? You’re driving a Ford Focus, dude. It doesn’t need a wing. Or graphics. Or a fake dual exhaust. Or flames. It’s a nice, solid Focus. Oh, hell. You’ve done all of those things, haven’t you? Of course you have, Florida.

Only in Florida Ford Focus, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

But it’s not enough that you’ve painted everything, debadged everything, lowered everything. Nope. Because you’ve done all of this nonsense to your car, you now have no budget to fix it. Now you have to roll around on a wobbly donut spare for the next three weeks until your check shows up.

Only in Florida Donut Infiniti G35, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

It would be bad enough if you were just doing all of this nonsense to clapped-out crapwagons. But noooooo, you have to ruin Porsches, too. I get it, guys. Nearly 10 percent of all Porsches are sold between three dealerships in the Broward/Dade County areas. You want to stand out. But do you really need to slam your Macan to the ground? Does your 991 need rimz? Why do you feel the need to tint your Panameras until they look like rolling black holes?

Only in Florida Ford Mustang EcoBoost Sticker Pack, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

What is this, Sunshine State? Only in Florida would this be a dealer-installed sticker option. Everywhere else in America, you’d be mocked for trying to make a four-cylinder Mustang look like the holy Boss 302. Nope, in Florida, you celebrate that shit — and the dealer charges you an extra grand for the shame of it.

Florida is the only place in America where you can buy a landau-top Chrysler 200 right off the lot — with color options. The average age of drivers in Pinellas County is over 60, and they all have landau tops, despite the fact that it’s roughly 127 degrees on any given day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk to you about your car stereos, too. Guys, you’re the only place in country where people still have “boomin’ systems.” Every other state has figured out that nobody else wants to hear their music. But not you! You proudly thump the latest merengue/tejano/hip-hop music as loud as you can, regardless of the hour of the day. Nobody should be turning it up like that on a Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. But there you are, assaulting our eardrums.

But I could deal with your Dantean traffic and your stunningly poor taste if you knew how to drive even a bit. To drive in Florida is to have your lane constantly invaded by wandering vehicles that have no idea that you’re there — and then they wander on back, like nothing happened. Traffic lights are mere suggestions. You stop and go as you please, and leaning on the horn has little to no effect on you. Y’all have no problem whatsoever blocking intersections for entire traffic light cycles, either. At night, you take advantage of your bizarre modifications to blast down highways at 135 miles per hour for no apparent reason, weaving from lane to lane with no regard for what might be occupying the space you’re invading. Although your Huracans have never seen a track, that doesn’t stop you from testing their top speeds on I-95 on the daily.

Florida, get your shit together. You’re embarrassing the rest of us. Chill on the Pep Boys mods, stop cutting your springs, and take a defensive driving class. We all believe in you. You’ve got this.

[Images: Jenna Diane Martin]

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142 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: An Open Letter to Florida...”


  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Bark said:
    “There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere.”

    Then Bark said:
    “To drive in Florida is to have your lane constantly invaded by wandering vehicles that have no idea that you’re there — and then they wander on back, like nothing happened. Traffic lights are mere suggestions. You stop and go as you please, and leaning on the horn has little to no effect on you. Y’all have no problem whatsoever blocking intersections for entire traffic light cycles, either.”

    I think the one sort of accompanies the other, if my own driving experiences in Brazil and Mexico are any indication, sounds very much like Florida.

  • avatar
    ajla

    ALL OF THE DRUGS is a h*ll of a drug.

    On the other hand, we have no snow and Mons Venus (don’t Google that at work please).

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    HOMER: Florida? But that’s America’s wang!

  • avatar
    Fuzzilina

    Stop pretending that Florida isn’t the nation’s ballsack.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      Not anatomically possible, too far from N.J., the nations a##hole.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Rpol35,
        Spot on.

        I spend alot of time on the Sth Jersey Shore with my family.

        Atlantic vs Miami?

        There are more degraded vehicles in Jersey driving on much poorer roads.

      • 0 avatar
        caljn

        rpol35 Geez, you logged in just to make that ridiculous comment.

        Is your ex from NJ? Or were you ran out because you weren’t smart enough to get a job?

        Yes Jrzyns are among the best educated and wealthiest in the nation…obviously not your kind.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        To me Washington DC was always America’s anus.

        • 0 avatar
          Paragon

          Well, I’ve heard DC is either the District of Corruption or District of Criminals. I’ll suggest a cesspool of corruption. Also, filled with more whores than most people realize. There are whores to service wealthy clients, and there are also those elected people who also are paid big money to vote a certain way by the banking and finance crowd, business owners, trade organizations, labor unions, foreign countries, etc. So, the sad truth is most members of Congress, whether we like them are not, are whores.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Miami driving is indeed pretty random. Most cities will have people tell you they have the “worst drivers,” that many different people in the area learned to drive somewhere else, and the variety of driving styles is what makes the traffic so bad.

    Well, in Miami IT IS TRUE! You can be doing 5-10 over the limit, pass some blue hair doing 5-10 under the limit, and the both of you get passed by some crapwagon doing 20-30 over the limit.

    You mentioned the rain.

    You forgot to mention the toll booths that STILL do not accept credit cards, in the year 2016 A.D., but they’ll fill out an IOU by hand for you to mail in within the next two weeks. Why? Because writing a check and licking a stamp makes so much more sense than swiping plastic. Really, why? Because “Florida!”

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      They fly 20+ mph over south of Miami tpo! Construction zones be damned.

      I figure out where all the Mustang/Camaro convertible sales are…south FL rentals!. They are everywhere! No manufacturers paimt is sacred here. The unpainted primer fixes are plenty too along with the most highway abandon cars from here back to Ohio. Waze was busy!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      JimC2,
      I was sitting on 80 on the Florida Turnpike and I experienced exactly the same.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      My wife and I used to spend Thanksgivings in Florida. One time we were getting on the turnpike in a rural place with no attendant at the toll booth, just a hopper with a camera (fine for not paying toll: $140). I dropped the last change we had in the rental car, so we had both doors open in the toll lane hunting for the change we dropped. Cars were stacking up behind us. Eureka! I found another quarter! My wife gave me what she found and I threw it in the hopper and drove through. I couldn’t help think, why no credit cards?

      And why is there no interstate beltway around Orlando? A nice I-204 would make things so much easier.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      That’s the truth. There is no real flow of traffic. I experienced old people driving 45 mph in the fast lane, followed by others blowing by me at high speeds while I was driving 85mph. The inconsistency is amazing.

  • avatar
    whynot

    Bark’s Bites: An Open Letter to SOUTH (and central) Florida

    Come to North Florida where you will just have to deal with rednecks and bro trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      About six years ago, we picked up some cars from the Tallahasse Auto Auction and drove south down US19 the whole way back. I drove the chase car, an ’08 DTS Performance, black with chrome wheels. It was like 2am and we stopped to fuel and I was wearing a long sleeve button-up shirt and slacks.

      First, the gas station had fresh pulled pork sandwiches for some reason.

      Second, some local said, “Nice Caddy ya’ll got there. You boys must be from the city. You must be from Perry!”

      Perry. A city. Wow. Where the f*ck are we?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        That’d be a really fun aspect of that business I would think Brian. It’s a bit reminiscent (on a much smaller and safer scale) of car-runners taking the trans-Siberian railroad from the Urals out to Vladivostok and picking up fresh-off-the-boat JDM imports and then hauling ass back. Avoiding road bandits and corrupt police, braving crazy washed out rutted roads, etc. At the end of the tunnel was a very handsome payout when they sold the car in Western Siberia.

        Nice little overview of that very fascinating market:
        rbth.com/society/2013/09/03/green_corner_20_years_of_japanese_cars_in_vladivostok_29463.html

        “The buyers, Alexei said, were mostly small-time entrepreneurs from cities thousands of miles to the west. They met similarly small-time importers in a sprawling open-air lot, known as Green Corner, that inhabited a weed-ridden hillside in the suburbs. It was a giant automotive flea market—resurgent capitalism at its finest—and on weekends there were as many as 10,000 vehicles. The outsiders came in groups of three or four or five, arriving by train and returning in caravans—one man per car on the long, lawless road. Some carried guns to scare off bandits. They drove west for a week, resold their cars, and came back, frantically living the revamped Russian dream: Go east, young man. Then go west. Then east again. Then west again. To describe these drivers of fortune, there was even a word, peregonchik, meaning “mover” or, more poetically, “car shepherd.””

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    My Florida car is best Florida car because metallic flame decals!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Bahahahaha. That Mustang badging *is* stupid. First of all, EcoBoost is one word, not two. Second, it’s crooked. Third…are they serious?

    Even Ford knows better. The EcoBoost Mustang is the one Ford-branded vehicle that doesn’t wear EcoBoost badges from the factory (actually, the RS and ST models don’t have them either, but it’d be redundant). I actually think it’s a fine car and am considering one with the Premium and Performance packages…but it doesn’t need the Boss’s hockey-stick badging.

    And speaking of Mustangs, Bark, at what point did you have a GT California Special (as is visible on the dashboard in one of the photos)?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “And what’s with your need to over-personalize everything? You’re driving a Ford Focus, dude. It doesn’t need a wing. Or graphics.”

    not to mention that’s literally the worst Focus Ford made.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Exactly. The early first-gen (2000?-2007) and the current one (2012-) are both great cars, for diffeeent reasons; however the 2008-2011 was just horrid.

      • 0 avatar

        I still am baffled at why everything thinks this. The ’08-’11 is the most dead-reliable and easily-servicable of all the Focuii to date. Plus, you can get an SEL or SES loaded with with a nice audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, leather, and a slider for well under $8k.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          The reason it can be had for $8K is because it makes driving a Corolla feel like a Porsche. Even Ford was ashamed of that car. I remember how quickly the chrome trim on the front fenders disappeared from the production line after all the online mockery.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          it was ugly, had stupid ornamentation on the outside, and a horribly cheap interior. it was a prime example of how globally disjointed Ford was; Ford North America spent a ton of money to carry over C170 into this de-contented piece of junk, while Ford of Europe also spent a ton of money to develop the C307 Focus which was a much nicer feeling car.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I agree with Flybrian and TMA1. The 2nd generation was much more reliable than the frangible and uncomfortable MK1 or the utterly disposable MKIII. It also makes any Corolla feel like a grand touring car.

          I remember a friend buying a new Focus ZX-3 P-ZEV in 2003. At the time, it seemed like a grand econobox; like what a Saab 900 MK2 should have aspired to be. It had a Mazda 2.3 liter engine and a decent shifting 5 speed to go with its Euro-clean styling and functionality, back when those were real things. Unfortunately, it turned into a pumpkin in something like 18 months. People were saying Detroit could suddenly make good cars back then too. The more things change…

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I am not originally from FL but have been here for over 7 years. Yea you are right about most of it. I live in NE FL so I dont deal with the tolls that much. Yes Orlando traffic is bad for what appears to be for no reason. I travel alot to there and Tampa for my job. TO me Miami is just like LA/NY ..to many folks not enough HWY.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Florida is the only place in America where you can buy a landau-top Chrysler 200 right off the lot — with color options.

    Yeah just when I think they’ve made a sedan with a roof-line too complex to put a landau top on… Florida dealers prove me wrong.

    My fave had to be a 1st Generation Kia Amanti with a fake convertible top. UGLY.

  • avatar
    scott25

    All of the car personalization things are true of Ontario also, ridiculous amount of brand new sedans with landau tops, ridiculous decals, and still a massive amount of booming stereos. Then again, some of these people, especially the landau top brigade, split their year between Ontario and Florida.

  • avatar
    caljn

    Florida (and Vegas) is the place people go when they’ve hit rock bottom and need a fresh start…but that’s neither here nor there.

    My peeve is the horizontal traffic lights. Why? So ghetto.

  • avatar
    cwa107

    Seriously? These are the issues you’ve found with Florida drivers? How about some real complaints – like, we sit in that aforementioned traffic most often because people here drive in the rain like northerners drive in the snow. Or how about the fact that most Floridians don’t recognize that any lane has a specific purpose. No, they just choose the lane they feel like being in and to hell with everybody else. Or how about the lack of state inspection leading to hilariously dangerous jacked up pickup trucks with suspension parts dragging behind them (no joke!). Or vehicles whose stopping distance could be measured in miles because it’s just rotor on caliper anymore. Or perhaps we could take issue with the true southerners who are in no hurry to go anywhere, which leads us to being stuck in a fourth or fifth, already long traffic light cycle.

    Simply put, Florida drivers are the worst in the world. They even beat New Yorkers…. maybe that’s because half the state is comprised of retired New Yorkers.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      As someone who has lived in FL all my life this is the truth. South FL is actually just NY without the snow. I’m glad people hate on FL, there are already too many people so please go home. Just take I-95 north, traffic will ease up past West Palm Beach and soon you’ll be back to “normal” (whatever that is).

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Two weeks back, I was renting a Ram 1500 at West Palm Beach airport, and the nice fellow said, while explaining the terms, “you agree not to modify the vehicle”.

    What?

    “Who modifies a rental car?”

    “You would be surprised how many cars come back with aftermarket window tinting.”.

    I was dumbfounded.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LOL, whaaaaat.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Color me shocked. The ghetto folk are fond of long term rentals. From what I remember, the smart heroin dealers will rent for two weeks at a time and switch up the car in order to stay stealthy… of course many don’t opt for the insurance and total the cars during police chases. Funny how bright and yet simultaneously dull people can be.

    • 0 avatar

      Local Enterprise had an additional waiver assessing additional charges for removal of aftermarket window tint, wheels, speakers, and audio systems.

      This was 34th St. south in St. Pete. Next to the $2 Holla breakfast joint.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Who gets to keep the confiscated loot?

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        Drug dealers rent cars and tint them on a regular basis in Pinellas, so said a Tarpon Springs cop I joined for a ride along last year. The Chrysler 200 has to be good for something.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Don’t they have Rent N Roll in FL for the tires and wheels? Why drop the big bucks on buying a set when you can rent them by the week and then have the stock wheels put back on?

        I could certainly see why they would want the heavy tint to minimize the ability of police that might be doing surveillance from recognizing that the driver of this red 300 is the same person seen last week in the black 300, but to then draw attention with the bling and thumping stereo seems counter productive.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The Rental Car situation in Florida is horrible. They really clobber you with taxes and fees. Rent for a day or two and you’re nearly paying as much in taxes and fees as for the car itself.

    Also those Sunpasses suck.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Winter in FL to escape NE weather.

    Favorite police blotter entry in my local Gulf Coast newspaper –

    “Couple arrested, meth and frozen gators found in freezer.”

    This is in what is demographically one of the nation’s oldest communities – lots of geezers. Can’t even blame this sort of stuff on youts and excitable Latinos.

    I try not to be on the road during Early Bird Special hours.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    And this is why Carl Hiaasen is basically set for life: you couldn’t get this kind of material anywhere else.

    Heck, it’s even inspired @_FloridaMan

  • avatar
    George B

    The Baja Alabama Central Time Zone Florida panhandle area traffic isn’t too bad. Midwest retirees and tourists vs. East Coast retirees and tourists.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Florida panhandle traffic isn’t bad but the local drivers are so SLOW! I’m talking the born and inbred locals, not the transplants/carpetbaggers/northerners/etc.- many of whom are also slowpoke drivers but not as bad as the locals. It’s almost as if they’re afraid if they drive at a normal pace, they’ll get home in time before the local junkyard closes for the day… and then they won’t have any excuse not to call someone to cart away the three cars on blocks in front of the trailer.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Isn’t it great that we can make fun of southern people? Next to Christians and American brand car drivers, they are the current acceptable punching bag. Call them inbred, make fun of their income level and what they choose to do for fun, its great because everyone knows that all people in the south are poor, inbred white trash that dropped out of school in the 7th grade. Especially since we can’t hate on black people, gay people, etc anymore like the good old days. Its so nice to have someone to hate to help us feel better about ourselves, right? Especially because they drive slow. Probably can’t read the numbers on the speedometer! Yep, its great to be a bigot and not offend any real people, huh? Buncha stupid Trump supporters and Duck Dynasty fans. The nerve of those sub-humans, total waste of oxygen.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I wasn’t broadly mocking southerners, I was specifically mocking the slow drivers in the panhandle… and no, they can’t read the numbers on the speedometer, the numbers on the speed limit signs, or the words on the “slower traffic keep right” signs. They also roll up to driveways and stop signs, slowly look around, wait for traffic with the right of way to get really close, and then amble into your way and slowpoke their way along. I wasn’t broadly mocking southerners because not all southerners drive badly like that. Many of them drive quite well.

          Not sure why you had to bring up Trump, Duck Dynasty, white, black…

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Don’t worry, we’ll always have West Virginia. Today in DC news, a camo-clad West Virginian was arrested for killing a 14-point buck with a handgun within the city limits.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Bwah! Well, I doubt many of my fellow Okies could have resisted that either. And there’s always a gun in the glove box.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            In fairness to that guy, is it really fair to say something can be both home to a 14-pt Buck and within “city limits?” Seems like one would preclude the other.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            There are tons of dear in Rock Creek Park, which runs right through the middle of the city. At night, the deer forage in the surrounding neighborhoods.

            It’s sort of analogous to Central Park. Would it be appropriate to hunt in the middle of Manhattan? You can’t say it’s not the city, just because it’s not paved.

          • 0 avatar
            SirRaoulDuke

            With a handgun? That’s terrible, I prefer a 30.06

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Corrections – he only wounded it with the handgun. Wildlife officials had to euthanize it.

            It was down along the Potomac River parks, not Rock Creek. But I’ve even seen deer grazing on the lawn of the Italian embassy before. If there’s a grove of trees in NW DC, there are deer that frequent it. I get them in my back yard also, and I’m inside the Beltway.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      I drove through the Wallace tunnel into Pensacola headed for Panama City. This ranks up there with the more stupid things I have ever attempted.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaMaximaCulpa

      And the panhandle has the nicest people in Florida.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Hey don’t blame the whole state for Miami. As one resident once told me the nicest thing about Miami is it is so close to the USA.

    Come north
    … see how you can pass through three cities in a ten mile drive between I95 and the ocean: City of , Beach, Beach Shores. Each with a higher property tax then the next.

    … where the average resident age varies wildly depending on which side of the Intercostal Waterway you are on.

    … where if you aren’t careful where you stay in the month of March you can end up in no-man’s land between students on spring break and bikers.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    If I were concerned with Florida’s car issues, it would be more along the lines of climate change and the maps showing the state going underwater. In that context some of the issues discussed here seem counterproductive or trivial at best.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Actually a close friends of mine lives right in Miami and has a backyard with a tidal estuary “staircase”. The water has absolutely risen even in the time I’ve known her, and it’s created some absolutely hilarious neighbor drama over parking spaces that won’t total cars on a yearly basis. The rest of the state should absolutely chip in to build them a raised parking area, that would be cheaper than what that parking lot is doing to their actuarial tables on car insurance.

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        Further proof that all cars should be equipped like Speed Racer’s Mach V … simply deploy the built-in jacks and rise above the floodwaters.

        Of course, if your neighbor’s car doesn’t have them, it may float into yours … Still best to park at the high end of the lot, then.

  • avatar
    86er

    Tom Wolfe’s latest, Back to Blood, gives a fun impression of the crazy melting pot of Miami.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Didn’t Jack write the same sort of complaints about being on his bike in Florida, last year-ish?

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    You failed to point out all the phony portholes in 20 yr old Corollas,with the rear spoilers to keep the rear end planted as they eventually reach double digit speeds.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    I’m down with the Landau tops. Keep that shit alive just that little bit longer.

  • avatar
    the passenger

    “Every other state has figured out that nobody else wants to hear their music.”

    I’m guessing you don’t make it to the Boston area much.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Agreed. Whenever I hear booming music these days, I’m start looking around for a new Corolla. I don’t know why, but those things are popular with that crowd. Must be the “party on wheels” advertising. Kind of sad that those guys are always alone then..

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Having spent several months driving all over Florida as well as living north or Orlando, I agree 100%. People outside of the state still like to customize their vehicles to questionable taste, but the Florida drivers are nuts.

    What is with those who, on a clear day with not much traffic, must do 10 mph below the speed limit and then 10 mph above it, alternating from one to the other for no reason at all?

    Speed limit 70, you set your cruise to 70. You begin to rapidly overtake a Toyota Sienna, so you signal, get in the left lane, pass the Sienna, and after you’re more than clear, you signal and return to the right lane. All normal, right?

    No, that Sienna decides to fly up on your rear bumper, swerve to the left lane (cutting someone off, no signal) and then swerve back in front of you and resume doing 65 so you must hit your brakes, wait for 74 cars to pass so you can pass the Toyota and resume doing 70. Then, here he comes again, and it starts over again. Why do they do that?! WHY? Is it the indignity of being passed but unwillingness to drive faster than anyone else? Rebellion against our oppressive electronic overlords known as “cruise control”?

    I have had this happen time and time again, and many times outside of Florida with cars with Florida plates. Why does that seem logical? Then again, why does changing lanes with no signal and no mirror check seem logical? I saw so many accidents and near-misses in Florida, it was unreal.

  • avatar

    Florida is a melting pot of the worst from the remaining lower 47 states, especially from New England, the Tri-State area, and the Great Lake region, FYI.

    Miami driving is deplorable. Miami itself is disgusting.

    Orlando isn’t much better. I don’t always stand in-lane at Manheim Orlando or Central Florida, but when I do, I despise it drive.

    West Central Florida/Gulf Coast is the best of the state. Too far east, its Orlando and sprawl; too far southeast, its Cuba. Too far north, its Deliverance with a higher dew point.

    Oh, and if you’re wondering why the sleds down here are of truly questionable condition, its because we have no vehicle inspections. None. No emissions, no safety, no nothing.

    No bumper on your Tempo? Just put the plate in the back parcel shelf; you good, bro.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I was perusing your website earlier, you should really sell me that ES300 for like $700.

      • 0 avatar

        You should really get another $300 and come pick up your Lexus.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Lol. Actually not too horrible for a future PA beater.

          I am actually half thinking about a real purchase but 1. I need to look at real estate first and 2. I need to make sure the new gig smooths out before I go buy crap I don’t need.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          As a recent purchaser of a cheap old ES300, I approve. Link?

        • 0 avatar
          Mathias

          Being from MI, I get serious old-car envy looking at anything from FL.
          That 20-year-old Lexus does clean up nice from the outside. However, 58 exterior pictures ant -0- on the inside leads me to suspect it’s a bit of a fright pig with the interior.

          As far as beater cars, I have a theory that it’s best to stay away from leather. Leather makes any decent old car much more expensive, because it has the coveted look-rich-for-cheap factor.

          Does anyone agree/disagree with this?
          It’s hard to have a ‘conversation’ on this site. Kinda too bad, as there are knowledgeable people here…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Meh, I’d say the overarching theme is that anything that’s had many owners, with short ownership intervals, is the most trashed.

            my ’96 ES (with fairly worn but not torn and decent looking leather) had two owners, one from 96-98, and then the guy I bought it from, owning it from 98 until three weeks ago. That’s the cars you want to buy. I have a hard time even calling it a ‘beater’ since that implies deferred maintenance and neglect, definitely not the case here.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s old enough cloth Camry seats can probably be swapped in. I don’t think those have goofy air bags in the seats or doors, the 330 perhaps but not the 300 to my reelection.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            28-cars, no need for swapping anything, they’re perfectly good heated(!) leather seats that just happen to have some cracking in the leather. Wiped them down with some Griot’s conditioner (not sure if it does anything but it sure smells nice!) it’s all good. Did the brakes front rear this weekend, along with rear swaybar bushings thus solving my rear clunk. This thing is coming along very nicely! Just need to troubleshoot the power steering (do a flush), have my brother troubleshoot the ABS light, and get some fresh good quality all seasons and the t-belt done and I’ll be all squared away.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Cracking is one thing but I don’t like when significant pieces of leather are missing. if I could find better seats I would do a swap but that’s just me.

            Leather is one of these things where unless I am sinking into the seat (a la Cadillac, Lincoln, or Chrysler of old), I’d rather have cloth.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      We have no inspections in Michigan, but rust never sleeps.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.
    Florida isn’t so much a state, as it is a free range insane asylum. We have wall climbing alligators, and face eating cannibals (now both homeless and collage students). We react to hurricane warnings by buying out liquor stores. We have people who apologize for burning their ex’s new girlfriend’s house down. Well, not really apologizing, more blaming Google maps for giving them the wrong directions and burning down the wrong house.
    Florida, we’re different, and we like it that way.

  • avatar
    Zjz125

    I live in South Beach & previously Hollywood FL. (2.5) Years Total. Age 26 Moving From NorthEast WI Town of 1200.

    Gotta live hear to understand South Florida. The Jokes and Stereotypes all stem from a point of truth. However, its a gift to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle here.

    The infrastructure of the roads is impressive and does a great job.
    If there is some stat on population density compared to commute times, minus public transport.

    (South Fl does a great job )

    Onto the Cars.
    Its entertaining !! No better blend of it all. (As this article describe )

    There was also an article on riding motorcycle in South Fl. To around this same extent.

    What happened to appreciating something for what it is. Not how its different?

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      I visited Miami last November and again in December for the week long Art Basel event, and I had a great time! Parts of South Beach itself can certainly be douchey, sort of like Vegas on the water but every city has that place and coming from LA I know the areas to avoid here too.

      I truly felt the Miami region is like nowhere in the US, it doesn’t feel like you are in America. The Latin culture is so prevalent, even more so than in LA. The climate is drastically different from much of the country. I found the freeways pretty smooth and nice to drive on, though a bit confusing with the turnpike/interstate signs mixed together. I rented a new 428i convertible and blasted down to Key West, what a drive!

      I actually felt Miami was the region that had changed my mind on Florida, after all the ongoing crazy stories you hear coming from that state. Oh and the women! I have a Jack Baruth story regarding one beautiful Puerto Rican but I will share that another time. Look forward to going back!

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        The prologue in Wolfe’s Back to Blood has a WASPy character arguing with a Hispanic lady. The WASP tells the Hispanic lady to speak English, you’re in America now, to which the Latina replies “no, puta, you in Miami now!”

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    Hey! Florida Man(tm) has got to have his sled!
    https://twitter.com/_FloridaMan

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I found Miami a great place, actually the best US city to lounge about. I stayed with friends in (near) Kendall.

    Key West was awesome, Elon Melon’s rocket launch at the Kennedy Space Center fantastic.

    I love the Cuban cuisine great. For breakfest, guava pastilito and a strong Cuban Coffee.

    Roads were in great repair. Driving was easy, even in the SLT Ram with a Hemi.

    Like any large city (metro Miami has over 8 million) there will be peak traffic.

    Also, Florida has 20 million tightly packed up the east coast.

    I found Florida great.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Coming from SoCal and the SF Bay Area, I’m always amazed at how nice it is to not have to deal with traffic when I’m in Miami :)

    I fully agree on the drivers, though. 60 average, is only due to all the young Latinos dragging it down. Miami really is one of the few cities in the world where, at any given time, there are several guys driving down the road who are already dead. And just waiting to hit something or someone, so that their vehicle will come to a stop.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I dunno that Florida is any worse than anywhere else really. I’m in Richmond, VA this week. Tonight, I was getting off I-64 on a LONG sweeping off ramp, two cars behind a MARKED STATE POLICE CRUISE with his BLUE LIGHTS ON. A Hummer H3 comes hauling up behind me braking so hard he noticeably wobbled in the lane. He then proceeded to ride ~1′ off my rear bumper until the traffic light at the end of the ramp. Cop went left, he peeled out to the right. Like it was my fault for holding him up on the ramp! No idea why the cop had his blues on at exactly the speed limit. Richmond is one of those places with multiple “rimz” rental places… Lots of booming stereos too.

    So much stupid across the width and breadth of this country. You really can’t single out any one area.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      He doesn’t even realize you exist until he has to brake for you. At that point, he wants to be as close as possible because his brain tells him that herding is safest. He also feels like he’s closer to winning if he’s as far up the road as possible, even if the difference is only a second or two.

      Intelligent people are rightfully annoyed by tailgaters, but they shouldn’t take it personally. I’ve ended up in the passenger seat of those sorts of drivers enough times to realize that they’re not trying to intimidate you. They’re often not even trying to get anywhere quickly. The tailgater is simply operating at the limit of his mental abilities, and that can’t account for anything happening more than fifty feet ahead of him.

      I just continually slow down until they pass, and that often takes minutes even when they could have passed within seconds. These people can provide on-road entertainment if you’re willing to accept them for what they are.

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        Pro comment.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        “I’ve ended up in the passenger seat of those sorts of drivers enough times to realize that they’re not trying to intimidate you.”

        Yep, and oddly enough, occasionally it’s otherwise intelligent and considerate people doing the tailgating. Two of my friends (one an HYP undergrad/T-14 law school grad and one with a perfect math SAT back when that meant something) used to be habitual tailgaters. I don’t know if it was bad driver’s ed or what. They both figured it out and got better within their first decade of driving, fortunately without having hit anyone.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve never been more terrified in a car than the one time I went to Rhode Island.

    Genuinely thought I was going to be going home to PA in a cast.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Gotta LOVE Carl Hiassen =8-) .

    Broward County !! .

    Florida is full of old Geezers and immigrants , what the hell do you expect ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    pickypilot

    You can’t write about Florida drivers without mentioning all the Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Vics still alive. They’re a favorite of blue haired ladies and guys who can’t drive at night.

  • avatar

    I’m convinced it is because of the sun and the fact every day looks exactly the same.

    Other Florida notes – Botts Dotts in every single highway…..you would never sell lane departure warning systems there, the DOT has done it for you…on arrow straight roadways…..

    You can make a day of sitting in the Publix (Supermarket chain, good deli counter) parking lot, watching people navigate. Get a lawn chair and cooler, set up in a spot you won’t be collateral damage, and watch people attempt to “drive” and “park”. Before you think I’m beating up on old folks, the young ones are worse. You know you aren’t in NY. You get bonus car spotting for retirement cars, all new when they moved down there, and kept pristine except for horrific sun bake. The inside of grandma’s second gen Accord was a raisin by the time she stopped driving..and that only happened when she could no longer do her “right turns only” shopping route. (30k in 15 years)

    The White Trash pipeline runs from NY to FLA. I think it is because the one normal working person in the family retires, and leaves high tax/high cost NY with high dollar NY pension and goes to “no snow shovels ever” FLA. This take the ne’er do wells in the family too (where else are they going to live ?) down. I get the calls When FLA won’t renew their Driver’s License because of those multiple Court Cases in NY they “forgot” to finish up, and thought they’d gotten away with when they got a Fla DL the first time…..

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    When I spend some quality time in Kissimmee/Orlando to escape Canadian winters, what catches my eye first is just how many Mitsubishi Eclipses there are. It’s like 90% of the total US sales volume is concentrated into just one place. I get plenty of time to look for them, stuck in the giant parking lot that is the terribly misnamed Irlo Bronson “Expressway”, or on I-95 for that matter.

  • avatar
    Chets Jalopy

    Greetings from Florida! Let me explain how Florida driving works; shut up.

    To even out the hate, I-10 has to be one of the best Interstates out there. Smooth, modern and fast. Put that in your pothole and smoke it, northerners.

    PS, Give Naples, Italy a try some time if you’re into chaos.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    No, not everyone loves Disney World. The only time I would visit another one of their parks is to watch the entire complex burn to the ground.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Thanks for this post. I needed to be reminded why I left Florida. There are less raised pickups per capita here in Nashville than there were in Tampa Bay.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Florida is the only state in the union that Ive been to that I witnessed the following circumstance:
    1) at Brio a semi nice chain restaurant
    2) Family of 5 seated at a table, somehow they saw fit to bring bikes and scooters for the kids
    3) Parents remained glued to their phones while the kids *RODE THEIR BIKES/SCOOTERS* up and down the dining area
    4) WTFs and Managers were ignored

  • avatar
    sofast1

    You’re absolutely right! It’s terrible down here! Stay far away from Florida and tell all your friends to do the same(please!).

  • avatar
    sofast1

    Where do you think all these ‘hole drivers came from? They came from [insert your state name here].

  • avatar
    zipper69

    Even as a happy Gulf Coast resident I accept the jibes with good humor.
    Driving back from Orlando airport in a rental Kia towards 75 and home I note a “choking” of traffic.
    I’m in 3 lanes, on my right is 2 lanes slowly merging with us (by this time our 3 has become 2). Slowly forward and we start to parallel 4 lanes on our left, this narrows to 3 and then 2 and then starts to merge with us.
    The masterful planning to take 4+3+2 and choked them down to 2 lanes, thus guaranteeing a half hour at funereal pace is amazing….

  • avatar
    Paragon

    Well, Bark, this sure made for one very entertaining read! Seriously. And, we all got to learn about a whole lot more than just cars. Some of you guys had some really great stories.


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